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Intel Core i7 4960X EE CPU / Asus X79-Deluxe Motherboard Review

The following tests consist of CPU-intensive experiments conducted with each processor overclocked to its maximum, widely-achievable level.

Research tells us that 4.5GHz is a safe bet for many Core i7 4770K chips, 4.8GHz is achievable with many 3930K processors, and many of AMD’s FX-8350 CPUs are capable of 4.6GHz. We didn’t want to go any higher on the comparison processor frequencies as that may see us entering territory that many end users cannot reach.

OC - 3DMark Vantage

With a 600MHz overclock (in comparison to the forced-turbo stock speed) applied, the 4960X gains more than 6000 points from 3DMark Vantage’s CPU tests. The higher-clocked 3930K is not far behind the 4.6GHz 4960X in terms of performance, being narrowly defeated by just over 1000 points (around 2.6%).

OC - Cinebench

With the maximum (safe and 24/7 usable) overclocks applied, the 4960X narrowly beats the 200MHz higher-clocked 3930K in Cinebench’s tests. IVB-E’s tweaked architecture and the Extreme Edition part’s 25% extra L3 cache allow it to outperform the SB-E 3930K, despite its 200MHz clock-speed deficit.

Neither of Intel’s hexacore chips can match the 4770K’s single-threaded performance when overclocked. Haswell’s architectural improvements are to thank for the overclocked 4770K’s single-core victory.

OC - Hyper Pi

Haswell’s improved architecture again shows its strength by beating both of the faster parts, which also posses more L3 cache, in Hyper Pi. The overclocked 4960X trims six seconds off the 4.8GHz SB-E chip’s time, registering a 3.6% performance improvement.

OC - Super Pi

Super Pi’s single-threaded workload turns the table for the hexacore chips’ competition. This time, the 200MHz-faster 3930K is able to outperform the 4.6GHz 4960X by four seconds (almost 1%). Again though, the overclocked Haswell chip has the potential to breeze past the performance of each hexacore part.


Overclocking the 4960X provided large performance numbers from WinRAR’s benchmark tool. The 4.6GHz IVB-E processor outperforms the 4.8GHz 3930K by over 12%. Additional cache on the Extreme Edition chip, in comparison to the 3930K, has also helped to boost the 4960X’s performance against the SB-E part.

WinRAR didn’t like the sub-stock HT Link speed of 2000MHz that was automatically applied to the FX-8350 system by its ASRock 990FX Extreme9 motherboard. With less than half the performance of Intel’s overclocked hexacore chips, it made little difference to the interpretation of our results.

OC - Handbrake

The well-optimised Handbrake media conversion program makes good use of the 4960X’s additional L3 cache, allowing it to maintain its performance lead over the higher-clocked 3930K. The IVB-E flagship processor outperforms our comparison SB-E part by just over 2%.

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